Mission: Impossible

Season 1 Episode 17


Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Apr 15, 1989 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

A deranged ex-IMFer targets retired IMF agents, killing them and framing Jim Phelps for the crimes. The IMF gives Jim only a little time to prove his innocence before they must turn him over to the authorities.

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  • This episode was special for several reasons: it was a "personal" mission, we get to see the return of another former agent, and we have a frightening villain in the mad, murderous Russell Acker.moreless

    This episode starts out with quite a shock: a pleasant reunion between a team leader and a team member suddenly turns to murder--and a rather graphic one at that. Of course, "Mission" fans would know instantly that that had to be a mask that someone was wearing, and that this episode was definitely going to be out of the ordinary.

    They gave Casey the first name "Lisa" to avoid confusion with Casey Randall. I never understood why they chose the name "Casey" for the new show in the first place. (And I really think that I'm capable of comprehending the difference between the "old" Casey and the "new" one.) Linda Day George did a nice job of it, although I would have thought that Casey would have found a job that made more use of her acting and make-up skills.

    Russell Acker was very creepy. That rasping voice...perhaps caused by years of screaming at the monsters in his mind? You have to wonder at that attendant, though. Striking a bargain with a psychopath is rather along the same lines as making a deal with the devil. You are not going to come out on top. You can see his death coming from miles away. And just how did the two of them manage to organize the equipment needed for Acker's escapes? Camera equipment, mirrors, a laser, a mold of Acker's face, a latex mixture, etc, etc, etc. And about the masks--we see Acker pick the mask up out of the foil packaging and immediately slap it on his face. Wouldn't a few dabs of glue be needed?

    I liked how Casey, after first agreeing to leave the country for the duration of the emergency, dug in her toes and refused to go after her second fellow agent was murdered. The scene where she came to the hospital and deliberately egged Acker on was cruel...but effective.

    One of the best scenes was in the attendant's apartment, where Max and Jim discover Acker's make-up and trophy room. That line "This room will self-destruct in five seconds" was great, although the actual destruction did not look as though it would have wiped out quite all of the evidence.

    Perhaps because of Casey's presence, Shannon really had very little to do. Her part could have been dispensed with altogether (and probably would have, if this had been an "old Mission" episode.)

    The climax was very tense and gruesome, as the team works to deliberately drive Acker deeper into madness. Knowing that Acker had a preference for strangulation, Casey really should have slipped a hand up to guard her throat when she had her back turned to him. The mirrors, the noise, the video recording, all would have sufficed to knock a normal person off balance. A truly pathetic moment came when Acker desperately tried to rip a non-existant mask from his face. The team ended up standing on the stage, looking down at the wreck of a fine man with mingled sorrow, distaste, and relief. I liked the very end, where Nicholas starts to turn away, then, irresistably, turns back for another look.moreless
Phil Morris

Phil Morris

Grant Collier

Peter Graves

Peter Graves

Jim Phelps

Jane Badler

Jane Badler

Shannon Reed (1989-90)

Antony Hamilton

Antony Hamilton

Max Harte

Thaao Penghlis

Thaao Penghlis

Nicholas Black

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson

IMF Voice on Disc (uncredited)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Trivia: The mission briefings establish that Acker had his accident 14 years ago (in 1975), and went on a killing spree in 1977, two years later. The original series ended in 1973, and Casey was a member at that time. The other two IMF female members mentioned here are never referenced in the original series.

    • Trivia: The IMF tape voice changes its standard mission briefing script, noting, "Your mission, Jim, which we feel you must accept, is to..."

    • Trivia: Jim notes that his last mission with Casey was nine years ago (presumably in 1979), when they took down a Hong Kong drug lord. This would have been six years after the last on-air original M:I episode.

    • Trivia: Grant notes that his father Barney had occasionally consulted with Acker.

    • Dr. Vincent doesn't recognize the anniversary date of Acker's commitment to the insane asylum: this seems a little odd for the guy in charge of Acker.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Jim: I would feel a lot better if I could drive you to the airport tonight and put you on a plane for somewhere.
      Lisa: I don't like running, Jim. I never have.

    • Acker: Your mission, Jim if you decide to accept it, is to survive this ordeal. To coin a phrase, this room will self-destruct in five seconds.

  • NOTES (3)

    • This is Lynda Day George's last acting role.

    • According to the trailer at the end of the show, it seems that "Reprisal" is aired before "The Haunting" in some markets.

    • Lynda Day George reprised her role as "Casey" from the original series. In the first series, "Casey" was clearly her first name. For this episode, her name was "officially" established as "Lisa Casey", to avoid confusion with the character "Casey Randall" who had been killed off several episodes earlier. No other name was ever given for Lynda Day George's "Casey", first or last, in the original series. This does somewhat contradict the original series, but most fan sources seem to accept "Lisa Casey" as the character's real name.


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